Seven til eight


Each race will bring its own unique challenges; training for my eighth marathon has been no exception. Similar to many cities within the USA, I endured a brutal winter. I don’t know that the snow impacted me as much as other cities/people, but the frigid temperatures made for a very cold and hard winter. There were many training runs that were done in below freezing temperatures. In fact, after one run, I got home and found that there was a giant piece of ice on the wires of my headphones – I had started to sweat during the run, and because it was so cold out, the sweat froze to the wires! The overwhelming majority of my miles were done outside – not having regular access to a treadmill, if I wanted to get a run in there were two options; bundle up and try to stay warm, or don’t run. Truly, there was only the first option.

During one run I was absolutely miserable. I needed to get in a solid 8 miles, but the thermometer was being generous when it said 3 degrees, and there was definitely a wind-chill that made it feel colder than that.  I tried to bundle up as much as possible, but nothing could keep me warm. It was after this run, that I began to throw my clothes in the dryer before I ran, so that I was warm for at least a little while on my run.

While on the run mentioned above, I came up with my mantra for the race I will run in less than two weeks. There are two different phrases, both sharing similarities…

It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.

This quote is originally credited to Mark Twain, though some more commonly connect it with Dwight Eisenhower, when he was the Supreme Commander of the Allied Troops during the Second World War. This quote provides instant motivation to me, by posing the simple question, “what do you have inside of you?” That has been a great question to ask prior to lacing up my shoes for a frigid run. It brought encouragement and excitement when I had the thought, “there is some massive dedication inside of me, if I am headed out in this weather for a run!” That provided strength and determination when the weather seemed to freeze all desire to run. In looking forward, I know it will prove just as helpful when I enter the final stages of the race. Those last few miles I will be asking myself, “How much fight is there inside of you today?”  I only hope, I am content with the answer on the day of the race.

It is going to be a dogfight.

This popped into my head shortly after the first quote did. The obvious similarity in name brought it to mind, but there is also a military connection. World War I ushered in a new style of warfare; airplane combat. The term dogfight stems from this time period because at times pilots would go into a dive or turn to allude/sneak up on an enemy and would shut off their plane’s engine. Upon firing it back up, the engine would make a loud noise, similar to that of a dog barking. The term also depicts a fight between two people. One versus one. You versus me. May the best man win. This is where I find the analogy to running, me versus the race. Initially, it was the cold weather I was fighting against. Recently it has been a mental and emotional challenge against the taper period. Soon it will be the distance, and the race itself. The weather on race day.  The hills on the course. Me, versus the challenge of running 26.2 miles. It’s going to be a battle. It’s going to be tough. Every time I run a marathon, I am reminded of the difficulty of running one. This phrase raises a similar question that I will ask myself on April 12, “Who is going to win today; you, or the course?”

Training for this marathon has been hard. In some aspects, I feel like it has been the most difficult training regimen I have been through yet. I feel as though I have had to battle through a lot just to earn my place at the starting line. Yet, I know that is where the battle just begins.

It is going to be a dogfight, but I am certain there is a lot of fight in this dog.



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